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Flannery O'Connor's haunting first novel of faith, false prophets, and redemptive wisdom
Wise Blood , Flannery O'Connor's astonishing and haunting first novel, is a classic of twentieth-century literature. It is the story of Hazel Motes, a twenty-two-year-old caught in an unending struggle against his inborn, desperate fate. He falls under the spell of a "blind" street preacher named Asa Hawks and his degenerate fifteen-year-old daughter, Sabbath Lily. In an ironic, malicious gesture of his own non-faith, and to prove himself a greater cynic than Hawks, Motes founds the Church Without Christ, but is still thwarted in his efforts to lose God. He meets Enoch Emery, a young man with "wise blood," who leads him to a mummified holy child and whose crazy maneuvers are a manifestation of Motes's existential struggles. This tale of redemption, retribution, false prophets, blindness, blindings, and wisdom gives us one of the most riveting characters in American fiction.
Flannery O'Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia. She had a quiet, bookish life as a child before attending Georgia State College for Women and going on tot he Writers Workshop at the State University of Iowa, where she earned a Master of Fine Arts degree. Her 1949 dissertation consisted of six short stories, one of which she developed into her first novel, Wise Blood (1952).
Wise Blood is the story of a fanatical, wandering preacher who sets out to found a "church of truth without Jesus Christ crucified." The book introduces some of the religious themes that run throughout O'Connor's later work. Her second novel, The Violent Bear It Away (1960), is the story of murder involving a Tennessee backwoods preacher and a small boy. Once again, O'Connor explores unusual manifestation of religion and human eccentricities.
Although O'Connor produced only a small body of work during her relatively brief lifetime, she has received much critical attention. O'Connor suffered from lupus, an inherited disease, which crippled her and cut short her life, and so her creative work was largely compressed within a decade of the 1950's. Her father also dies of Lupus when she was 15 years old.
O'Connor is frequently praised as being the most creative and distinctive writer of this period. The two most notable aspects of her fiction are its religious themes and its commentary on the oppressive traditions of the mid-twentieth-century Deep South.
(Bowker Author Biography)
Publisher's Weekly Review
Bronson Pinchot turns in a virtuosic performance of O'Connor's darkly comic classic first novel. After serving a stint in the army, Hazel Motes finds himself adrift, alone, and rent by spiritual confusion. Pinchot's narration is superb: dynamic, well paced, and infused with a perfect Southern drawl. Instead of simply creating voices for the characters, Pinchot embodies them. His Hazel is nasty, nasally, and angry; his Enoch Emery boasts a congested twang; and the entire cast is likewise brought to life by Pinchot's precise and perceptive characterizations and his brilliant evocation of O'Conner's grotesqueries. A Farrar, Straus, and Giroux paperback. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.